Senator Hegar expresses disappointment in SAWS Board Action
Senator Glenn Hegar, who represents a large portion of the Colorado River Basin, expressed deep disappointment in today's SAWS Board action to declare LCRA in breach of contract in the LCRA-SAWS water sharing plan. "Today's SAWS Board action is deeply disappointing. I am disturbed that SAWS would take this action all the while pursuing groundwater alternatives in other areas of my Senate District, simply because the study results didn't reveal the answers they wanted. You can't get water from a turnip and the whole purpose of the study period was to determine if water was truly available. If the results indicated that the water isn't there, it isn't there. The contract didn't guarantee an amount of water, it was a contract to study the water availability. Unfortunately, it appears that SAWS is taking the approach that filing a frivolous lawsuit and acting as a bully will get the results they desire. The fact remains that the science and only science will determine the feasibility of the project and not the filing of a frivolous lawsuit."
The LCRA-SAWS Water Project is a water sharing proposal to develop alternative supplies that could help meet long-term needs in the lower Colorado River basin and the San Antonio area. As part of the proposal, LCRA and SAWS signed a contract to conduct a seven year feasibility study to evaluate the project. It has become apparent that the amount of water developed from the project is not enough to meet both the needs of the Colorado Basin and the San Antonio area.
The enabling legislation and LCRA’s contract with SAWS requires the LCRA Board to find that the project adequately protects and benefits the basin. The major implication of the preliminary study results is that no water can be made available to SAWS from the project as it was originally envisioned. One factor influencing these results is updated population projections for the lower Colorado River basin. The projections show that between 14 and 25 percent more water than is included in the 2006 regional water plan will be needed to meet municipal and industrial needs in the lower Colorado River basin in the next 50 to 90 years.
"The study worked exactly the way it was envisioned. The Colorado Basin can not and should not proceed if the water is not available. The study results do not eliminate the potential for a long-term water-sharing agreement, but today's board action by SAWS certainly sends the wrong message about future discussions. LCRA has expressed a willingness to continue to work with SAWS to understand the implications of the data collected throughout this study and to decide how best to move forward. I am disturbed at SAWS' frivolous reaction."
Senator Hegar is currently serving his second session in the Texas Senate after serving two terms in the House of Representatives. He is Vice-Chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission as well as a member of Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Criminal Justice and Vice-Chair of Government Organization Committees. Additionally, he has been instrumental in the creation and success of the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program dealing with the contentious water issues associated with the pumping of the Edwards and the associated endangered species. He is a 6th generation Texan, and earns a living farming rice and corn on land that has been in his family since the mid 1800s. The Hegars reside in Katy, Texas.